The government has revealed significant changes to the UK’s insolvency laws that are designed to help struggling estate agency businesses stay afloat for longer during the crisis.
Over the weekend Business Secretary Alok Sharma revealed that estate agency firms would be given more time to be restructured and rescued prior to entering insolvency.
Companies will also be allowed to continue to pay for vital supplies and services which, in the case of estate agents would include websites, portal costs and for sale boards.
The proposals also include key safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid while a solution is sought restructuring plans that both sides must sign up to.
Also, Sharma is to suspend the ‘wrong trading provisions’ regulations which expose company directors to prosecution if they suspect or have reason to believe that they are trading insolvently, and did not take every step to minimise losses for creditors.
“We welcome and support these proposals. Suspending wrongful trading will assist directors in accessing Government or bank funding without concerns regarding personal liability,” says Jennifer Marshall, president of the Insolvency Lawyers Association.
The measure will be backdated to March 1st and run for three months.
Alok Sharma, who was briefly a housing minister during 2017/18, said: “Today’s measures will also reduce the burden on businesses, giving bosses much-needed breathing space to keep their workers employed and their companies going.”
Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director, Confederation of British Industry, said: “The CBI welcomes these interventions at a critical time for business. The temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions, along with other measures, will give much needed headroom for company directors to enable otherwise viable businesses to use the government’s support package and weather this crisis.”